Disposable Camera Tour
Thaxter & Sons Family
Though they never
, the separate lives of artists Celia
and Levi Thaxter intrigue us even today. Raised in
the isolation of White Island at the Isles of
, Celia married Levi Lincoln Thaxter when she was 16 and he 30. Levi was then her tutor and business partner of her father Thomas Laighton. But they were from two very different worlds, even in death.
Celia is buried
with her parents and two brothers, Oscar and Cedric, in the family plot on Appledore
, the island where she spent much of her adult life. Levi and their three sons -- John, Roland and Karl
-- are buried at Kittery Point in Maine. By the time they purchased the 186-acre Champernowne property at Kittery Point, Celia and Levi had largely gone their separate ways, emotionally at least. She had become one of the nation' most popular poets. Levi, always in search of a career, was best known for his readings of poetry by Robert Browning.
Levi Thaxter died in 1884, ten years before his wife. In tribute, Robert Browning penned an original epitaph.After dozens of visits to Celia's famous Isles, we finally made our way to Levi's resting place. The burying ground of the First Congregational Church stands at a 90 degree turn in Pepperrell Road that hugs the river. The old Thaxter home, the church and the well known Lady Pepperell House are still here.
Levi, Karl and Roland are buried under overhanging trees in an area toward the river, their stones now broken and difficult to read. The Browning epitaph has been reprinted into a bronze tablet affixed to Levi Thaxter's tombstone. The poem reads:
BROWNING TO LEVI THAXTER
"Thou whom these eyes saw never:
friends true who say my soul,
Helped onward by my song,
Thou all unwittingly, has helped thee too.
I gave ofbut the little that I knew:
How were the gift required,
While along life's path I race.
Coulldst Thou make weakness strong:
Help me with knowledge --
For life's old, death's new."
THE OLD BURYING
Pepperrell Road, Kittery Point, Maine
Congregational Church, Kittery Point, ME
The Old Burying Ground on the
Levi's grave is in the
far right corner.
Levi Lincoln Thaxter and
son Roland (Randall)
Levi's gravestone with the
Browning epthaph plaque
of Celia Thaxter Family Graves
Disposable images and text by J. Dennis
Thaxter family images couresty Peter E. Randall, Publisher
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